Commentary: High-tech bridges medicine and agriculture

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Editor's Note: The following commentary was written by Mike Barnett,  Director of Publications for the Texas Farm Bureau and was originally posted on the Texas Argiculture Talks website.

I was in the hospital recently and as I watched the steady drip, drip, drip of the IV feeding into my arm, I marveled at the technology the doctors at Scott & White Hospital in Temple were using to restore my health.

Millions of dollars in research, tons of investment in machinery and mountains of skill and knowledge were used to get me back on my feet. And as I lay in the hospital bed, I started thinking how similar doctors were to farmers.

High-tech is a bridge between medicine and agriculture.

That steady drip of the IV rehydrating my body reminded me of the slow release of drip irrigation systems, which allows farmers to efficiently use water and nutrients to help plants grow and stay healthy and strong.

A CAT scan used to map out my operation made me think of the GPS systems on farm machinery, which with the help of sensors and a host of gee-whiz technology, can allow a farmer to deliver the precise amount of fertilizer a crop needs at a particular part of the field to maximize yields.

Doctors used antibiotics to fight the infection in my body, much as farmers use antibiotics to nurse sick livestock back to health.

And biotechnology? It’s the backbone of many new medicines used to cure some pretty devastating diseases. It’s also a huge tool used in agriculture to develop crops resistant to disease, bugs and drought.

I could go on and on about high-tech in both medicine and agriculture. But I’m very thankful for the doctors and nurses who took care of me during my hospital stay, much as I am thankful for the farmers and ranchers who provide for my daily needs for food.

It troubles me that many vocal people actively deride the miracles of modern agriculture, advocating that we go back to the “good old days of 40 acres and a mule.” I wonder if they want their doctors to go back to the days of the “little black bag.”

http://txagtalks.texasfarmbureau.org/high-tech-bridges-medicine-and-agriculture/


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